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Feb 16, 2015

90 Day Challenge – Day 47

Sarah Christmyer

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Bible Time Period: Royal Kingdom

You established a kingdom on your servant David and promised him an eternal throne: Establish your kingdom in our midst.


Enjoy reading the familiar story of David and Goliath, this time in context of the overall story of David, Saul, and Saul’s son Jonathan.  These accounts of David’s youth give important indications of his character, of his relationship with God, and of the ways in which God works.  It is also interesting to see the evolution of Saul’s character after the Lord withdraws his spirit from the disobedient king.

Today’s Reading

I Samuel 17-20

Today’s Question

What stands out to you most, in these chapters?

Join the discussion below!

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  • What stood out to me in this reading today was the essence of love and jealousy.
    David was one in heart and soul with the love of God and His commandments, whereas Saul was a tormented soul that knew he had sinned against God. “Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him but had departed from Saul.” 1 Samuel 18:12 and “But when Saul saw and knew that the Lord was with David, and that all Israel loved him, Saul was still more afraid of David…” 1 Samuel 18:28-29. There was such guilt stored in the soul of Saul and continued to fester because he was too arrogant to truly confess to God, Our wonderful Father in heaven.
    Jonathan so loved David when they first met because he had the ability to ascertain that David was a man of God. Jonathan gave David his cloak and armament out of respect and admiration
    to David and loved David. I really think that through the glamour of being presented before King Saul, David’s genuine desire and goal to serve and love the Lord, Our God stood out first and foremost in Jonathan’s mind. Plain and simple.
    I think Jonathan saw this and loved him for his honesty and integrity.
    David was like God’s reality check for Saul while he was king. David possessed strength of soul and of mind when it came to obeying God. Saul did not. David possessed honesty and integrity.
    Saul did not. David was proud of his relationship with God. Saul was not. David showed love of God and fellowmen. Saul did not. In fact, Saul showed so many opposite traits because he had such a tormented soul.
    I often wonder what personality I will display on a given day. Would it be the jealous Saul or the
    loving David? With the numerous aids that God has given me thought all these years, I pray that I choose the latter.

    • I appreciate your points on the relationship of David and Jonathan — I have been thinking on this as well. It is interesting to me that we have read more than a few stories of holy and righteous men whose children went far astray. But here is the opposite: as Saul sunk into faithless despair, Jonathan emerges as more and more faithfully upright.

      • Saul’s daughter Michal also was faithful to David. Sometimes when children see their parent sink so low they rebel and become the opposite. I have called that negative role modeling

  • As regards David and Goliath, I am reminded of the expression: Don’t tell God how big the mountain (Goliath) is, tell the mountain how big God is. I have also heard that the five stones David picked for his sling represent the first five books of Scripture, the Pentatuch. This makes sense to me when reading how full of confidence David was in God when he went to battle against Goliath: 1 Sam. 17:37 – “The Same Lord who delivered me from the claws of the lion and the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” Also, 17:45-47 – “You come against me with sword and spear and scimitar, but I come against you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel whom you insulted….thus the whole land shall learn that Israel has a God. All this multitude, too, shall learn that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves. For the battle belongs to the Lord, who shall deliver you into our hands.”
    The juxtaposition of Saul and David in chapters 18-20, and David’s covenantal relationship with Jonathan is a brilliant illustration of the necessity to remain faithful to God above our human leaders (idolatry). Saul’s behavior is a good example for David of what not to become when given the kingship.
    It is so important to arm ourselves for spiritual battle, strengthened with the Word of God and the graces bestowed by the Sacraments, because we all face Goliaths (and Sauls) at various times in our lives.

    • It must have been short of a miracle to convince King Saul as the youthful, in experience as a warrior David is, as he presented himself to the King to face an incredible adversary, Goliath, a giant warrior. Wow!!! Really, unthinkable!!

  • saul ‘s root emotion is fear .this illustrates the opposite of fear is love from saul ,alot of fear. no fear from david , alot of love. i better find a way to control my anxiety so it does not rob me of love.of course,God is love . thus , i am highly motivated to find that fearless (anxiety control)temperment.

    • Chuck, you raise a very good point here. I love how Scripture interlocks like puzzle pieces. I have been studying the Gospel of John and the Johaninne letters the past few months, and here is the commentary offered on 1 John 4:12-18: “This describes a transformative process, for the source of the love is God, not humans. The presence of this perfected love in us removes whatever fear of the day of judgment we might have had, for we have become the love that is God. Perfect love (God) and fear cannot co-exist; if we are not afraid of the judgment, it is proof that we are in God, while the presence of fear is evidence that our transformation is incomplete. A reflection on this section should encourage Christian preaching and teaching that focus more on actualizing the transformative love of God than on morbid or fearful images of God and punishment and judgment.” Personally, I take comfort knowing that when I fear, it is because I have a ways to go in my own transformation, but God is with me and my journey continues! Be at peace in the Lord!

      • Maybe when Jesus Christ was on earth He spoke so lovingly about the children of God (regardless of age) as children who obey and love his/her father without reservation.
        With adverse traits getting in the way of perfect love, say, anger, selfishness, greed, etc., a person does not truly have that perfect love of God. This is a sobering thought to ponder. Thank you for this information.

      • In our human existence, a soon to be a perfect love, but for as long as that love came from the goodness of our hearts, fear won’t co-exist as grace and sin won’t co-exist with the Virgin Mary, a definitive reason why it is false to believe Mary is a mere vessel to bring about Jesus, as believed and defended by non-Catholic believers

      • Thanks Kerry and a good reminder for us on our fear of the Lord. In our emptiness of baggage, such vacuum shall be filled up with the Spirit of the Lord that begins with our fear of the Lord, the beginning of wisdom leading to our transformation, conviction and conversion of heart.

      • Excellent commentary!
        Also might be worth noting is that when we are told to “fear the Lord” it is actually referring to “reverence” rather than “trepidation”. And that’s why “Perfect love (God) and fear cannot co-exist”.

        May we all be transformed in His great love for us. How do we do this?
        “Instruct me, O Lord, in the way of your statutes, that I may exactly observe them. Give me discernment, that I may observe your law and keep it with my whole heart.” (Today’s Responsorial Psalm 119:33-34)

  • Jonathan defended David and talk good of him to his father, King Saul and said, The king should not harm his servant David, he has not harmed you, but has helped you very much with what he did. In our lives we seek for a friend like Jonathan whose goodness came from the only source of goodness, our God.

  • When David faced Goliath he said ““You come against me with sword and spear and scimitar, but I come against you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel whom you have insulted. Today the LORD shall deliver you into my hand;”, when Saul repeatedly tries to kill David, David escapes every time. I notice how man uses swords and spears but God fights back with with different weapons. David is a boy inexperienced in secular warfare yet through the grace of God, he wins battles and escapes numerous attempts on his life. Also instead of killing Saul and his soldiers, God uses prophetic ecstasy to stay their murderous intent. I would like to think that God is giving them a chance to repent.

    When I think of the world today, I realise that man is using knives, bombs, guns, propoganda and ignorance against God’s children. In response, the Church deploys its most powerful warriors in response. Even when faced with overwhelming odds, our warriors have won many battles. Most are not noticed by the world, but some (such as the closing of abortion clinics) are. I am not a theologian so I may not be quite right, but I see our warriors as Prayer Warriors, Truth Warriors (apologetics and teachers), Evangelistic Warriors (such as religious, priests and devote lay people), Love Warriors (those who suffer humiliation, hatred and even martyrdom) etc. In the eyes of the secular world our warriors are pathetic and weak, but God sees their hearts which are valiant, strong and open to Him. They are hearts and souls that God uses for greatness and salvation (often not seen by a blinded secular world).

  • What impresses me most is Saul’s mental deterioration. It almost led me to say “Wow God really blew it” In the last chapter’s Saul has become so arrogant that he is acting as his own priest and building monuments to himself. His jealousy even drives his own children against him. Still David is there to keep the Israelites from being conquered by their enemies. God is teaching the Israelites who their King really is.

  • Jonathan’s love for David, in spite of his father’s anger and hatred for him…seemed tragic to me. Almost like a premonition of what Jesus would do for us thru his crucifixion and death…Though his friendship is permanently severed he is faithful to his friendship. What a great abiding love Jonathan had for David. What that we could experience a similar bond of friendship with someone…

    • I am not affixing anything sexual to their relationship, but it reminds me of the type or relationship man and woman should have in the covenant of marriage.

      • I certainly didn’t mean to imply anything sexual to the relationship David and Jonathan had for each other. I guess I should have been more specific…more of the agape kind of love two people who are just very close friends can have. I have friends with whom I have very close bonds with, but there is certainly nothing sexual about those relationships…but I would not want to be without them as they add flavor and joy to my life in many ways. Certainly this is what a covenant marriage type of love looks like as well, but there are other types of love that are just as fulfilling and rewarding as marital love. Sisterly love, brotherly love, love of one’s children, love that grandparents give, love between friends, etc.

        • I agree, Beverly. I was not suggesting you were attaching sexuality to it – just specifying that I am not when I say it makes me think of the covenant of marriage! And I know you are right about agape love.

  • “Saul then began to fear David because the LORD was with him but had turned away from Saul.” Simple yet so powerful and illustrative of this whole passage(s). David served the Lord. Saul did not. I think of the last few words spoken at mass “The mass has ended. Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.” A pep talk to be like David. Like Jonathan. Not like Saul. These, to me, are the key phrases of any mass…a pep talk for the week to come…the 7 days that lie ahead to love and serve the Lord until we convene again. (Which is another reason I really am bothered by those that leave after communion…which is more and more lately)…and miss these key words that will set the stage for the week to come.

    • I can’t remember when the last words “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord” It seems lately that the last words have been “Go in Peace to Love and Serve the Lord” followed by “Please be seated we have a word from the Knights of Columbus. the principal of the parish school, community food bank take your choice. LOL Holy Communion is the only Banquet that I don’t slip out early. Thanksgiving, Office Parties etc. I take a seat at the door and slip out as soon as possible sometimes even before eating.

  • Saul and David (The good and evil one). David definitely stands out. The faithful one. Saul was beset by jealousy and anger. It reminds me of the choices we make in life. Today’s readings reinforces the message of free will – freedom to choose as the word choice is mentioned three times in first reading if we choose, we can keep the commandments – they will save you. Sirach: 15-20. Our God has given us the freedom to choose from the beginning of time to the present – but jealousy, greed, anger and our own human weaknesses keep us from the grace of the loving kindness of our God.

  • This is quite a character study of David, Saul, Jonathan and Michal, with themes of good and evil, obedience to the Lord, friendship, and a tale of overcoming insurmountable challenges.

    I also saw the correlation between the readings at mass today and these chapters. “If you choose, you can keep the commandments, and to act faithfully is a matter of your own choice… Before each person are life and death, and whichever one chooses will be given.” (Sirach 15:15,17) David and Jonathan acted faithfully, while Saul chose jealousy, anger, and murderous intent. Jonathan and Michal are a testimony to the pure and faithful acts of friendship, loyalty and love.

    The story of David’s fearless approach in battle to Goliath can give us all hope when we face gigantic, insurmountable obstacles. Like David, all we need to face any enemy, problem or challenge is to approach it “in the Name of the Lord of Hosts” (1 Samuel 17:45).

  • Oh well, since Samuel if one of my favorite characters in the Old Testament I think I will post something.
    I noticed as soon as the “Spirit of God” left Saul he became “crazy” and “unstable” in all of his ways. He goes after David to kill him and then when David confronts him and asks him why he is doing this, Saul backs down but continues the same “crazy” behavior over and over again. It also reminds me of Pharaoh who after each plague told Moses he would let the people go, then kept changing his mind back and forth. Praise God we are the Temple of the Holy Spirit and God does not take His Spirit from us in the New Covenant as He did in the old.

  • Wow!! what a joyful all in Israel when Goliath killed. When David returned from killing the Philistine, that the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with joy and with musical instruments. The women sang as they played, and said, “Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands.” Let’s share the joy of Israel !! Click link:

  • Then Saul became very angry, for this saying displeased him; and he said,
    “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, but to me they have ascribed
    thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?”…Have we ever
    experience King Saul’s situation? How’s the feeling might be?

  • David believed that the LORD was fighting the battle for him. What a message to us. With the LORD on our side we can win any noumber of Goliaths. LORD please help me defeat the Goliaths in my life mainly my weaknesses.

  • David Prayed for god he is King of Israel the stone from David’s sling strikes the giant Goliath on the forehead and knock’s him down.

  • Though it’s one year later, I’m rereading the comments and the topic of choice and discernment is very relevant to me today.

    Fisher reminds us through a commentary offered on 1 John 4:12-18: “This describes a transformative process, for the source of the love is God, not humans…” Then I asked that we all be transformed in His great love for us. “Instruct me, O Lord, in the way of your statutes, that I may exactly observe them. Give me discernment, that I may observe your law and keep it with my whole heart.” (Today’s Responsorial Psalm 119:33-34)

    I may choose to go down the same path I traveled once before. There’s been some road construction and the road appears to be more smooth than before.

    But is it the road God would want me to travel on?

    • Prayer may be the only way to discern this, Marianne! Sometimes I feel like a character in the comedy skit that depicts lost people walking the woods in circles, finally realizing they have passed the same tree a myriad of times and the footprints they have been following are their own! Ah, well, at least we recognize our circles and are actively seeking the path out of the frustrating woods, huh?

      • You got that right, Fisher! You know, I’m sitting here thinking, “I have absolute faith and trust in God” and yet I’m worrying about the impact my decision will have on others! Duh! God is in control! I’m worrying for nothing! But I’m still no closer to discerning His will… sigh…)

        • Ha! Join the club! My mantra: Don’t just do something; stand there! And sometimes we need to in order to observe God’s grace in action.

          • My first reaction was to laugh when I heard that mantra, too. It has served me well, once I figured out what would happen when I applied it (Grace). You are so sweet….let’s pray strength for each other as we discern!

  • We are probably familiar with Catholic Relief Services and the celebration now of 40 years anniversary. Here is something to ponder about how CRS makes the best use of our donations. Banana trees do die and Hamuli Kahati is left with nothing to sell. His family suffers from lack of food. Abnana wilt disease devastated his trees on his farm in the Democratic Republic of Congo. His income dropped from 150 dollars a month to only 7 dollars. It was hardly possible but yet he gave his three daughters one meal daily. CRS helped start a field school where farmers like Hamuli could try different ways of treating banana wilt disease. Training at the school. Members visited each other’s fields. They worked together to clean the disease off of the trees. Now Hamuli’s trees are flourishing. His family is eating two to three meals daily. Farmers in the Democratic Republic of Congo know how to keep their harvests healthy.

    Visit for more information and stories of how donations help people in the world.

  • This is an interesting read about Saul how jealousy has overtaken his reason and hatred has entered his heart. The relationship of David and Jonathan is one of love and respect. David battles for the Lord and fights the Philistines and then he is brayed by Saul. Saul becomes so depraved as to kill the priests that aid David.
    I agree with Avila, that the weapon we need is prayer to be true warriors of the Lord. David prayed and the Lord was with him. In our world as we see so much evil, we know who wins, God. All we can do as warriors is pray.

  • As Saul deteriorated once God’s spirit left him, David was able to grow in his understanding of what God required from his king in Israel. David had the kinship of Jonathan which also helped his grooming for his new role. What stood out for me was the use of Saul and Jonathan to teach David the ways of governing and leading people so this shepherd boy could take over as king – David had the spirit of the Lord in him but needed the understanding of the daily duties of ruling a mighty nation. It is a wonder that he was not corrupted by Saul but that would have been the Godliness that was in David.

  • What I now comprehend in this narrative is that although Goliath appears invincible, God’s declaration in 16:7 (But the Lord said to Samuel: Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature, because I have rejected him.) indicates that height is insignificant. The narrative deliberately contrasts Goliath’s stature with David’s, further highlighting David’s spiritual qualification and divine anointing (with the Spirit) as Israel’s next king. I suggest the story deliberately shows us the difference in Goliath’s stature with David’s, further highlighting David’s spiritual qualification and divine anointing (with the Spirit) as Israel’s next king. I also see clearly that pride again plays a role in the downfall, in this case, Goliath’s. And we know pride always comes before the fall. Goliath was arrogant and trusted in his own strength and mighty weapons. He boasted for his own glory and scorned the people of God. This pride was the cause of his fall. David on the other hand was humble. It was no thoughts of fame which drive’s him to fight the giant, but only passion for God’s glory and the good of his people. He trusted in God’s help and not in his own skills or power, and went forward to the unmatched combat, full of the confidence that God would overthrow the Philistine by his means, and would then demonstrate his power to the pagans.

    • I like what you have to say, Anthony, about David wanting to do only what would glorify God. You’re right in saying fame wasn’t a motive in David’s actions. Trust in and giving glory to God were the reasons for David’s success…and ours when we put these into action in our own lives. Blessings on your day, Anthony!

  • There are the polar opposites of good and evil in these four chapters. Saul, who once was favored by the Lord but no longer, is very much jealous of David, who now is favored by God. Saul lost God’s favor by his pride and disobedience, yet Saul doesn’t take responsibility for why he’s lost favor in God’s eyes. All Saul can see is that David has more success, respect, love than he has.
    I also see a love between David and Jonathan like that of brothers. Jonathan does his very best to mediate between Saul, his father and David, but is finally forced to accept that his father will not see reason. The evils of sin have overtaken Saul, and because he is so caught up in his sin and refuses to see his sin and repent, he has separated himself completely from God.
    I am reminded that although we ourselves can and do get caught up in sinful ways, God is always there to welcome us back with open arms, if we only admit our sins, take responsibility for them and do our best to repent. I’m sure God was waiting with open arms to Saul, if Saul would only have repented of his sins against God. How sad that must have made God then, and even does today when we refuse to acknowledge our sins and repent.
    I’m also reminded that, like the brotherly love between David and Jonathan, we too have brothers and sisters in Christ who we need to surround ourselves with to have our back, so to speak, like Jonathan had David’s back. We need to listen to and pray for each other. We need to lift up those heavily burdened, by our prayers, kind words and kind deeds.

  • What stood out most to me was when the Lord said to Samuel that He was sending him to Jesse, the Bethlehemite. Actually, this was the conclusion of yesterdays reading. All these names of people and places…so foreign sounding to me, so perhaps I am wrong when I am assuming that this place, Bethlehem, from which God says to Samuel “For I have provided Myself a King among his (Jesse’s) sons.” Is this the same Bethlehem where Jesus was born?

  • St. Gilbert of Sempringham pray for us! (c. 1083-1189)
    Gilbert was born in Sempringham, England. Wealthy family. Son of a Norman knight. Sent to France for a higher education and studied in the seminary. He was not a priest yet when he returned to England and he inherited several estates from his father. He did not choose an easy life he could have had but living simply at a parish and shared his things with the poor. He was ordained and served at Sempringham. Several young women wanted to live a religious life and he had a house built for them next to the church. They lived an austere life, which attracted more. Lay sisters and lay brothers were added to work the land. The order formed was the Gilbertines. It came to an end when King Henry VIII suppressed all Catholic monasteries. Custom of the houses of the order was later to be “the plate of the Lord Jesus.” The best portions of the dinner were put on a special plate and shared with the poor, showing Gilbert’s lifelong concern for the less fortunate. Gilbert lived simply, eating little, prayed during most of the night. It seems like so many monks lived a long life.
    And Gilbert lived to be 100 years old. Having everything to live a life of luxury, he chose differently and shared with the poor. The Lenten Rice Bowl is here to help us like Gilbert to share what we have with the less fortunate–eating less and letting the rest of the grocery bill that could be larger be given to feed the poor.
    St. Elizabeth of Hungary fed 900 people daily and could have had everything. She chose to live poorly. She was a royal queen and is the patroness of the Franciscan Seculars. St. Louis IX is patron of the Secular Third Order too. He fed daily one hundred people.

  • What stands out more in my mind about David is how he was protected from the evilness of Saul. Saul’s own children, Michal and Jonathan believed in David. They trusted his belief and trust in God so much, they felt comfortable to be a part of protecting him from their father’s hatred and jealousy. The loyalty of friendship in God’s name is truly a gift that surpasses any threat from those who have so much hate against you. This has to be what God means instead of offering sacrifices and burnt offerings.

  • 1 Samuel 17:45 “David answered him: “You come against me with sword and spear and scimitar but I come against you in the name of the Lord of hosts the God of the armies of Israel…”
    This is what stands out to me because David displays his deep faith and ultimate trust in God. Saul did not trust in the Lord anymore because of his enormous guilt that was consuming his very soul!
    This is a lesson that I need to take into consideration because no matter what I think, the Lord had the final decision, whether it be right now or in the future.
    “Our Father who art in heaven, Holy be Thy Name…”

      • Thanks Mike! The second link works.
        BTW, Matthew Kelly has several dates for a live presentation across the country

        “Living Everyday with Passion & Purpose led by Matthew Kelly, invites us all to identify God’s voice in our lives and the specific purpose for which we’ve been created. Matthew inspires attendees to apply the genius of Catholicism to every aspect of our lives including prayer & spirituality, work, dating & marriage, personal finances, health & well being, parenting, and community involvement. Matthew Kelly, and musician, Eliot Morris, prepares a unique message inspired by God and the teachings of the Church that promises to radiate in your life. Consider this: most people take more time to plan their annual vacation than they do to discover the voice of God and His plan for their life.”

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